The global pandemic forced many people to work from home, using online meeting software like Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams to stay in touch with fellow office workers. But where Zoom and Slack are standalone installations, Microsoft bundled its Teams software into the Office suite. This effectively put Teams on every computer that had Office installed, which didn’t sit well with Slack.
Tip: communicate faster in Microsoft Teams with this keyboard shortcuts cheatsheet.
Slack, owned by SalesForce, approached the European Union regulators in 2020, demanding that Microsoft unbundle Teams. It wanted the tech giant to only make it available as a separate download. Microsoft plans to do just that to prevent an antitrust investigation by giving in to SalesForce’s request.
In what is somewhat standard commentary from Microsoft, the company said they are “mindful of (its) responsibilities in the EU” and “open to pragmatic solutions.” It’s the same response it gave to regulators when it was called out over its software licensing practices in Europe.
Details on how the unbundling will work aren’t clear. But it’s suggested that, in the EU at least, companies will be able to buy Office with or without Teams.
Three years ago, Slack approached the EU regulators claiming that Microsoft disables the removal of Teams from computers. “We can’t ignore illegal behavior that deprives customers of access to the tools and solutions they want,” Slack said at the time. It added that Microsoft “created a weak, copycat product and tied it to their dominant Office product.”
“Reverting to Past Behavior”
Slack might claim that Microsoft is “reverting to past behavior,” but this isn’t the first time Microsoft has been in trouble with regulators. About a decade ago, Microsoft was forced to give users a choice of Internet browser. In a rather sneaky move, it made its Internet Explorer browser the default option.
That eventually led to a $730 million fine in Europe three years later, as the screen reportedly glitched and didn’t show up for some users.
Image credit: Unsplash
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